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2008 SJ200 tv vos ltd edition


nbtel

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Great guitar.

 

I absolutely agree! In particular, the power of the bass on these is incredible. (Or, I guess I should say, "can be" because they vary from one to the next. This is the J-200 I use to change the mind of people who think J-200s are "quiet giants". "Just pluck the low E," I say, "and then tell me this guitar is quiet!"

 

But, for that very reason, these don't have what I think of as the "classic" J-200 tone. On at least mine doesn't. I've got a (Sitka-topped) 2007 TV to fill that slot. It sounds like a louder, stronger '50s J-200, while my Adi-topped 2008 sounds like a whole different category of beast. E.g., the 2007 gets used for Gary Davis (where a thunderous bass isn't wanted) and the 2008 for Johnny Cash (where the bigger the bass, the better). So, depending on what you're looking for, this may or may not be the J-200 for you.

 

-- Bob R

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I absolutely agree! In particular, the power of the bass on these is incredible. (Or, I guess I should say, "can be" because they vary from one to the next. This is the J-200 I use to change the mind of people who think J-200s are "quiet giants". "Just pluck the low E," I say, "and then tell me this guitar is quiet!"

 

But, for that very reason, these don't have what I think of as the "classic" J-200 tone. On at least mine doesn't. I've got a (Sitka-topped) 2007 TV to fill that slot. It sounds like a louder, stronger '50s J-200, while my Adi-topped 2008 sounds like a whole different category of beast. E.g., the 2007 gets used for Gary Davis (where a thunderous bass isn't wanted) and the 2008 for Johnny Cash (where the bigger the bass, the better). So, depending on what you're looking for, this may or may not be the J-200 for you.

 

I think this is the best Gibson has done in Montana, TV models,VOS in particular.I have a 08'TV VOS J-200 and it has been a perplexing but wonderful guitar.Horrible set-up on purchase ,so I played for a week then gave an initial tweak.At that point it was a subdued,unfocused player,loud but no note or chordal togetherness(sorry,only way I can put it).Next tweak after two months of climatisation,saddle set-up and neck adjustment(high side,as I like)and wow.....what a thunderbox.I have an uncle who is all Martin,all the time,and he said that is the best bass he had heard on a non Martin guitar,it pained him to say.I do not know if it the Adi top but my 200 is not broken into a consistent tone day after day,especially during humidity swings,still over two years old.Big K I get ya on the four bar opinion,without a doubt my main concern on the J-200 4 bar is poor saddle break angle and hence a neck set that allows extra saddle height.Personally I want the 4 bar,true to form,but I cringe as I look at neck angle,neck bow,nut set ect, especially when I am eyeing a guitar to buy.Don't wanna rant.Hide glue,Adi top,lighter bracing,well this is where it may be at for the J-200 40 years ahead,and looking back. Consistency is critical though,and if i was a Martin person,I would have no problem racking Gibson,but the TV models are a step in the right direction,accurately build what made the brand such a coveted instrument.Sorry if I am in someone's draft.I cannot figure the text layout on the new Forum.

T

 

--

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... accurately build what made the brand such a coveted instrument. ...

 

But that's exactly what they didn't do with this model. Adi over maple? Never been done on a production J-200. Bracing? The classic J-200s had a lot of variation in the bracing, but this is different from all of those. The result: Best sounding J-200 ever, for a lot of typical J-200 applications. So, naturally, they labeled it the "Vintage Original Specs" model.

 

I love Gibson! Who else would have the nerve?

 

-- Bob R

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I didn't realize that Gibson never used Adirondack Spruce on early Maple J-200s. Is that really right? I thought they did Adi/Maple guitars decades ago...

 

Well, live and learn. My Adirondack topped 2010 SJ-200 "True Vintage" delivers what I thought was "vintage" Gibson tone. Whatever it is, rar, I agree that it's the best sound I've ever heard from a Gibson acoustic.

 

Thanks,

Jack6849

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I didn't realize that Gibson never used Adirondack Spruce on early Maple J-200s. Is that really right?

 

Yep. The transition from Adi to Sitka occurred during World War II and the change from rosewood to maple was made when production of J-200s was re-started after the war. I believe there is one known example of a pre-War maple J-200 with an Adi top, but that was a special order (which is why I added the "production model" qualification). And there were certainly earlier Bozeman-built Adi-topped maple-bodied J-200s, but these too were not regular production models.

 

-- Bob R

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rar,

 

Good information. Thanks a lot.

 

Like you, I love the sound of my Adirondack Spruce-topped SJ-200 "True Vintage", even if, as it turns out, the term "vintage" is a misnomer. When I auditioned my 2010 model SJ-200 "TV" at Dave's Guitars in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I liked its tone so much better than any Gibson J-2 I'd ever heard, (including a 1959 model that I once acquired from George Gruhn in Nashville...), I just bought it immediately and assumed that was how the earliest J-200s must have sounded.

 

In fact, that guitar was so good that it even led me to subsequently "special order" a Maple "J-200 Jr." from Bozeman, with an Adirondack Spruce top (as well as a bound headstock and fretboard). Like my SJ-200 "True Vintage", the "J-200 Jr." also has a killer tone that is different from (and in my opinion, superior to) many other Gibson acoustics that I've owned (or played) over the years.

 

Now, I guess I'll just have to find some other superlative besides "vintage" to describe the incredible tone of these two Gibson guitars. Maybe I'll go with "my personal favorite".

 

Again, Bob, thanks for the info.

 

Jack6849

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I have played a handful of Bozeman-made J-200s that I really liked, my favorite being one turned out in 1989. But none of the guitars I played had the vibe or sound of the ones made before the 1960s. Structurally they are very different guitars from those older guitars and those changes produce a different sounding and responsing guitar. If you want old school J-200 sound you just have to buy an old J-200.

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Yep. The transition from Adi to Sitka occurred during World War II and the change from rosewood to maple was made when production of J-200s was re-started after the war. I believe there is one known example of a pre-War maple J-200 with an Adi top, but that was a special order (which is why I added the "production model" qualification). And there were certainly earlier Bozeman-built Adi-topped maple-bodied J-200s, but these too were not regular production models.

 

-- Bob R

Bob,

you are right in what Gibson didn't do.But what I find so infuriating is that all the info on specific models, wood selections,bracing patterns,bridge styles is out there,as many Gibson afficianados can cite(like yourself),yet Montana goes about willy nilly when the benchmark info is there for all to see. I was ecstatic when the True Vintage series arrived,as more than anything,it drew on some of the past building practices which are often ignored.How hard or costly is it to put bone nuts AND saddles on production models and though incorrect as Adi tops were,I think in most cases it is a upgrade from Sitka,and was used on many Golden year models.And the lighter bracing(don't even get me started)is a distinct nod to tone versus potential warranty.I have the brochure that Gibson put out introducing the TV line,45/200/Hummy and about 6 distinct features were named,some that were not even guitar performance related(Redline cases)What I grasped was a higher grade of tonewoods,maybe lighter bracing and finish and pow!zombie man walked out the door with my near $5k already spent,desparate am I to own the best sounding and built Gibson I can afford.I say that with no arrogance,almost embarrassment because in reality Guild is doing at least the same in retro marketing/building and a helluva lot cheaper.But I am only a Gibson guy so they got me by the tail(!)but my choosing nonetheless.And as much as there was a serious upcharge to all the TV lines,why would most maple bodied Guilds' shame the quality/curl/figure on the upgraded J-200 body,and I mean consistently.Where is their maple source this year.And they used Red spruce and bone also to boot far cheaper,citing Guild golden past models(which we not accurate but hey,it's Guild right).Where is the factory this year!?I guess I feel despite what Gibson says their aim ain't quite true and I feel somewhat cheated by that approach,many companies would die for such a storied and detailed past.And then so many ,like myself keep buying (and sometimes complaining).A fool am I of course as I complain while spending,it is my choice right?But I really wish Gibson built and marketed the best they can when they say they are building the best/historic/upgraded whatever guitar they say they know the most about.Check out Martins' catalogue and see the feature listing is about 30 items long,everything is noted and itemized correctly,be it wood,neck profile,tuners,pickguard material,nut,saddle you name it.The info is there and correct.I often wonder why we the Gibson buying public have never solicited or deemed worthy of such authenticity.When the cost of such loose "accuracy" is what it is currently,how much would the current real deal be? That said, in my mind,I know longer seem to be thinking about the next Gibson acoustic purchase anymore.

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I often wonder why we the Gibson buying public have never solicited or deemed worthy of such authenticity.

 

I decided to respond just to this one specific point. The only Gibsons that are intended to be authentic reproductions of great guitars of the past are the Legend-series models. Everything else is a modern reinterpretation of an old design. Some look more like old models than others. Some are built more like old models than others. But, except for the Legends, the object is simply to build the best guitars possible (for the money), where part of what "the best" means is that they sound and look like Gibsons.

 

Gibson's standards may differ from yours when it comes to what's best. In Ren's opinion, even the most cherished models of the past were pretty "Meh" on average. He told me once that he had been in a room with seven pre-war AJs, only two of which were great guitars. Four of the seven he wouldn't have bothered taking home if they'd been offered to him. That's why the Legends are not copies of "a" 1942 J-45 and "a" 1937 L-00, but rather copies of Eldon Whitford's legendarily great 1942 J-45 and Lee Roy Parnell's legendarily great L-00. I don't think Ren has any interest in building guitars that sound like average 1937 L-00s. Besides, if you want an average 1937 L-00, there are enough to go around out there already -- no need to build more of 'em.

 

Ren's story may contain just a tiny bit of rhetorical excess, but I completely agree with his point: most old Gibsons are just old guitars. No way are they worth what they sell for these days (IMHO). Some are just out-of-this-world wonderful, but those are exceptions. You might prefer average old guitars to average new guitars because you just happen to prefer the sound of old guitars -- aging does affect tone -- but the design and construction of the old Gibsons isn't axiomatically superior to that of new Gibsons. Ren thinks Gibson of today can build better guitars than Gibson of yore did in the olden days, but that's not going to happen if he slavishly copies old designs and construction techniques.

 

Now, you mentioned figure in the maple as an example that shows the inferiority of Gibson. Well, my 2007 J-200 TV has the plainest back I've ever seen on a J-200. Why didn't this go on an MC, or a J-150? I don't know for sure. But somebody examined that back and decided it was a great back -- most likely, it exhibited remarkable tap tone -- and decided that it deserved to be a J-200 TV back. If you want a J-200 with a super highly figured back, buy one. There are J-200s out there with figure second to none. Some of us don't care as much about figure, but care a lot about tone, and there are other J-200s built for us. I can't see anything wrong with that.

 

-- Bob R

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Bob,

 

That's a great explanation and it makes good sense. But calling them "True Vintage" seems to run counter to that intent and you can see where it might lead to confusion. I laud Gibson's effort to build the best guitars they can, no matter how close or far they may be from the guitars of days gone by. But calling them the "Premier Edition" (or something like that) instead of True Vintage would convey that more accurately. Ultimately, if they're great guitars, it doesn't matter all that much what they're called.

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Even though the products might be upgraded, something not true to real life vintage shouldn't be called True Vintage. Bad move - It'll make sales-people all over the world blab towards innocent customers as their noses get bigger and bigger, and it'll make the more experienced dogs, like f.x. 'Forumers', bark back at the company with echoes ringing in the fields and alleys.

 

I wouldn't suggest Phony Vintage. Come up with something else. . .

 

"Gibson's standards may differ from yours when it comes to what's best. In Ren's opinion, even the most cherished models of the past were pretty "Meh" on average. He told me once that he had been in a room with seven pre-war AJs, only two of which were great guitars. Four of the seven he wouldn't have bothered taking home if they'd been offered to him." rar

- So much for Golden Age !

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But calling them "True Vintage" seems to run counter to that intent and you can see where it might lead to confusion.

 

The one constant in the history of Gibson over the last century is that you cannot believe one word that comes out of their marketing department. (You think things are bad nowadays, check out some of the purple prose those guys churned out in the 1920s!) Not that it's all inaccurate. There's just no way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

If some marketing droid who knows next to nothing about guitars decides that calling a model line "True Vintage" will make it sell better, it gets called "True Vintage". I'm not surprised or upset by this. Call me cynical, but this is pretty much what I expect from major corporations.

 

-- Bob R

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So Bob (rar)...

 

I'm now interested in your opinion about what (besides its Adirondack top) makes my 2010 SJ-200 "True Vintage" sound so awesome. Is there something in the other materials, the workmanship, or the current Boseman design for that model that makes it sound so special?

 

Are today's "True Vintage" guitars glued differently? (For example, is it likely that my guitar was made using hot hide glue?) Also, is the variability in the tonal quality that you reference in old Gibsons perhaps less spotty in this line?

 

In other words, is the quality across the "True Vintage line more reliable than it was in earlier "vintage" Gibsons? A few months before I bought this SJ-200 "True Vintage" from Dave's Guitars in La Crosse, I was in their store thinking about buying a Gibson acoustic, and they had one new "Standard Series" (non-TV) J-200 which I tried out. I found its tone, feel, and build quality to be, as you so aptly put it earlier, rather "meh". Even though I really wanted to buy a J-200 on that trip, this piece did nothing to make me pull the trigger.

 

Six weeks later I went back to Wisconsin to play this just-received SJ-200 "True Vintage" and it seemed to have been built on a different planet. Its tone made it impossible for me to put it down for fear some other customer might audition it before I could get it bought.

 

It takes a real acoustic guitar to get that kind of a reaction out of me, but everyone who's played it since has been just as awestruck as I was. So what are they doing in Boseman "so right" to get these particular guitars to this level? I'm just glad I've got mine, but I'm interested in your opinion and that of anyone else who might explain what makes this thing sound so great. Whatever it is, it's very very right...

 

Thanks,

Jack6849

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In my opinion the particular challenge for Gibson is to make up for all those annoying 'buts' that seem to surround, especially the acoustic vein of the legendary brand: 'Norlin Dark-age', inconsistency, 'hard to break in', 'full of socks', 'you have to find the right one', and more. It's a disturbing cloud over a beautiful garden that just never appears when people (amateurs as pros) talk f.x. Martin. It must be a drag to live with this crack and I'd strongly advice the company head-staff to take it seriously. Yes, this is a major corporation - a rolling monster business, but it's about guitars, and guitars represent something special to the buyers. Something divine, purer and spiritual, as we all know – they are a 'step up and out of this world', so to speak, and this fact must be reflected in every dimension the G-picture. Therefor the luthiers, carpenters, designers, sunbursters, what have you, should communicate carefully with the sales-section in order to achieve the optimal precision, balance and credibility.

The right marketing is the path to survival and growth, but a clean reputation combined with positive spoken words between players out there on planet, means the key to nothing less than the talked about 'Second Golden Age'.

 

Hallelujah (and a blessed dropped D)

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

I just played a J-200 VOS LTD Promo two days ago...I cannot get it off of my mind...I have over 30 high end guitars with 3/4 of them acoustic including high end vintage Martins, and others. I have always loved the look of the J-200 but had never found one that did it for me...until I played this blond beauty. One can play anything on it and it expresses exactly what the player is going for and feels. The bass is simply incredible (best I have ever heard on a guitar) and yet not overwhelming the rest of the spectrum. Fit and finish are perfection and the grain and curl of the maple is spectacular. I have to have this guitar and plan to do just that. I have not been this impressed with a guitar in many, many years.

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I do remember Gibson stating THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER (justifying the upgrades).

I agree that True Vintage is not the best term .

I have a normal Sj 200 TV (sitka spruce) and I love it to death !!!

 

 

question to Bob (Rar) I placed an order for one of the ¨1938 GOLDEN AGE¨ SJ 200´s

in your opnion will these be acurrate reproductions of those guitars ?

all I know via Fuller´s is that they will use : WIDE GRAIN RED SPRUCE for the Top

INDIAN ROSEWOOD for back and sides

and Robbie Johns stated it's going to have the original L5 style headstock .

 

 

I'm no historian but maybe someone other than Bob knows about those first J 200s.

 

 

thanks

 

JC

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